Teaching and Assessing PUL 2: Critical ThinkingThis tip sheet focuses on the second of the six PULs. Descriptions of all six PULs can be located at http://due.iupui.edu/Undergraduate-Curricula/General-Education/Principles-of-Undergraduate-Learning. General planning considerations for incorporating and assessing PULs in your class can be found here.
Definition of PUL 2: Critical Thinking
The ability of students to engage in a process of disciplined thinking that informs beliefs and actions. A student who demonstrates critical thinking applies the process of disciplined thinking by remaining open-minded, reconsidering previous beliefs and actions, and adjusting his or her thinking, beliefs and actions based on new information.
The process of critical thinking begins with the ability of students to remember and understand, but it is truly realized when the student demonstrates the ability to
- evaluate, and
knowledge, procedures, processes, or products to discern bias, challenge assumptions, identify consequences, arrive at reasoned conclusions, generate and explore new questions, solve challenging and complex problems, and make informed decisions.Instructional Activity Examples
- Modeling critical thinking during lecture
- Think aloud when showing students how you approach a problem or scenario. Then have the students tell you what you should be thinking at each step (i.e. pretend you are the piece of chalk, as it were, and write what they tell you to write). Finally, have them try on their own (think-pair-share, or as an assignment).
- Provide students with a conceptual framework into which they can plug in new information and show them the connections between new information and older information.
- Scaffold questions to model how you expect students to think about the material. When relevant, demonstrate or gather multiple solutions to a single problem.
- Provide students with a model examination questions and have students develop and answer plausible test questions in preparation for exams.
- Case-studies, patient scenarios, real-world scenarios
- Use case studies to allow students to solve problems, make decisions, identify complications, demonstrate professional competence, and synthesize or evaluate different perspectives or procedures (see NCCST database as an example).
- Use a scenario as an opener in lecture, to stimulate interest, begin a discussion, or frame the objectives of the session.
- Use a scenario or extreme case as an illustrative example of complex or abstract content.
- Create scenario-based examination questions that test students’ thinking skills, and not just their recall of content.
- Discussions, role-playing, debates/town-hall meetings
- Have students respond to ethical or procedural dilemmas, with a rationale.
- Structure discussions so that the students are discussing the content in an authentic manner, whether in the service of an assignment or examination, or in the context of the discipline.
- As a group, students brainstorm all of the different stakeholders in a given scenario and are randomly assigned the roles of different stakeholders, Students are grouped into stakeholder groups, given time to discuss and research their positions separately, and then, as a larger group, the students participate in a debate or town-hall discussion of the topic.
- Product creation
- Artistic production or performance related to course concepts, theories, or information
- Development of a business plan, creating a manual (including SOP), or
- Preparation and presentation of a poster
- Creation and revision of lesson plans appropriate to college-level teaching
- Critical reading and writing
- Reading a journal article that is missing identifying information and developing an abstract
- Writing a review paper for a professional audience or a wider audience
- Historical analysis of art, fiction, science; literary criticism, textual interpretations
- Research learning
- Discipline-specific data analysis and interpretation
- Development and practice of procedural understanding (not just how, but when and why)
- Participation and presentation in journal clubs connected to undergraduate research
- Construction of laboratory reports modeled after journal articles
AACU Critical Thinking VALUE rubric, Retrieved from http://www.aacu.org/value/rubrics/critical-thinkingBean, J.C. & Weimer, M. (2011). Engaging ideas: The professor's guide to integrating writing, critical thinking, and active learning in the classroom. (2 nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey Bass.
Public Library of Critical Thinking Resources: http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/index-of-articles/1021/
National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science Case Collection http://sciencecases.lib.buffalo.edu/cs/Authored by Sarah Lang (August, 2010)
Revised by Sarah Lang (July, 2011), Terri Tarr (November, 2015), Doug Jerolimov (November, 2011)